Iconic newsstand at Pike Place Market closing

SEATTLE — For the past 40 years, Lee Lauckhart has been perched at the corner of Pike Place Market.

“It's been a good run,” Lauckhart said.

But the iconic First and Pike News stand is shutting down at the end of the year.

“People don’t want it anymore. When you have a product you're selling and people turn against it, well you better pull the curtain. Go home,” added Lauckhart.

It's no secret the digital era has led to falling demand for print newspapers and magazines. The newsstand once carried 180 newspapers, even international ones.

Now it's dropped to a mere handful. Lauckhart once had more than 2,000 magazines which are now down to 1,500.

Still, the newsstand has its regulars, many of whom have been stopping by to show support.

“I started working here in 1986 so since I was 14, 15 years old. This has been the neighborhood newsstand for us,” said Jerry Carl Jensen.

As more and more people stopped relying on newspapers and instead turned to devices like phones, you might be surprised to hear what’s been keeping Lauckhart afloat the past few years.

“Gum and water. Selling gum and water saved the newsstand,” Lauckhart explained.

The famed gum wall has helped keep him in business.

And even though he’s continued to add items to sell, Lauckhart said stopped making money about 10 years ago, living off his Social Security while his remaining three employees continue to get a paycheck.

“It’s been a labor love. Maybe a hobby for quite a few years but that’s okay,” Lauckhart added.

But now it's time.

“I'm 78. A rocking chair and a good book. I like to travel,” answered Lauckhart when asked what’s next.

The newsstand will close up shop Dec. 31.